Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Nature Nerd Wednesdays

Welcome to Nature Nerd Wednesdays, your mid-week nature break to reconnect with the calming, refreshing, and inspiring effects of nature. Take a deep breath and enjoy...

Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander...

Continuing with a tradition I followed last year and the year before, the final Nature Nerd Wednesday post of this year will take a look back at the trails my feet wandered this year. These trails led me to places of exhilaration, inspiration, reflection, and connection with the stunning environment of the Pacific Northwest. These trails took me higher and further than I'd ever been, and left me eager to explore more. Imagine you've got wet socks and a cold nose, and join me in reliving these wanderings:


 First Day Hike at Cama Beach State Park




Saint Edward State Park










What a year it has been. I'm beyond grateful to have the opportunity to explore these beautiful places in Western Washington. Thank you to all who wandered with me this year, and for the enduring memories created on the trails: my husband, my sister, my dad and stepmom, and my friends and fellow bloggers in the Alpine Trails Book Club.

Happy New Year! Stay tuned to A Day Without Rain in 2017 for more Nature Nerd Wednesday inspiration, along with the occasional Musings, Wanderings, and Going Green tips.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Looking back at 2016: Top 5 most-read posts on the blog this year

Sauk Mtn - "May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view." - Ed Abbey

We've already arrived at the final week of 2016. It was a year of Wanderings, of exploring new places, meeting new friends, and reaching new heights. This year, my wanderings led me to reflect on our place in the world, our impact upon it and our responsibility to it. As the year winds down, let's take a look back at the most popular blog posts of the year.

1. Wanderings: Sauk Mountain

If the world ends, let me be here... a place that inspired a true feeling of gratitude and exhilaration.

2. In the News: Wildfires in Western Washington

Wildfires made an appearance in Western Washington this spring, and may become a regular occurrence with our changing climate.

3. Wanderings: Fragrance Lake

The first meetup of the Alpine Trails Book Club led to this tranquil lake surrounded by a forest full of history and interesting geology.

4. Wanderings: Mount Si

My biggest challenge yet, climbing Mount Si gave me a whole new perspective on my own abilities, and on my home valley far below.

5. Wanderings: Brightwater  

Hiking at a wastewater treatment plant? It's way more fun (and much less smelly) than one might expect.

2016 was a year to remember, and let's hope that 2017 will be even better yet! Stay tuned to A Day Without Rain in the new year - although the blog may be leaning more toward Musings and less Wandering thanks to my current pregnant state and my son to be born in early May - but you can bet I'll be getting him outdoors as soon as I can!

Follow along on Twitter at @LaineyPiland or on Instagram at @a_day_without_rain_blog.


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Nature Nerd Wednesdays

Welcome to Nature Nerd Wednesdays, your mid-week nature break to reconnect with the calming, refreshing, and inspiring effects of nature. Take a deep breath and enjoy...

Gulls at the coast. Lainey Piland photo

Christmas is now just a few days away. How's everyone doing out there? This season brings a hectic busy-ness for most of us, leaving little time to enjoy the things that bring peace and relaxation, including getting outdoors for hikes on the weekends.

If your heart is longing for the solitude and quiet of the outdoors, watch the film below and escape to the remote beaches of Olympic National Park, where leopard seals lounge on sandy beaches and waves explode against sea stacks. This film is Part 1 of the Olympic NP collection created by filmmaker Rudy Wilms, who plans to film each of the Olympic National Park's ecosystems (which I assume are coastal, forest, and alpine). I'm looking forward to seeing the other films!

Olympic NP Pacific Coast from Rudy Wilms on Vimeo.

The landscapes in this film have an expansive quality to them. After watching, I now feel like I can inhale more deeply, stretch out my limbs, let go of a breath I hadn't realized I'd been holding... a perfect tonic for the stress many of us feel this time of year.

Have a wonderful Christmas!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Nature Nerd Wednesdays

Welcome to Nature Nerd Wednesdays, your mid-week nature break to reconnect with the calming, refreshing, and inspiring effects of nature. Take a deep breath and enjoy...

Two weeks ago, we reveled in the starry night skies. Last week, we wandered in the snowy silence of the forest. This Nature Nerd Wednesday, we're going to do a little bit of both! Take a look at the Mother Nature Network article below, featuring the photography of Tiina Tormanen, who captures exquisite snowy night scenes of the Lapland region of Finland.

Tormanen is quoted in the MNN article saying "Far too many [of us] are busy — too busy to think about life itself, and the media around us pull out a lot of misery and war on so many levels. I want to remind them of another part of the reality, of the one that matters."

And isn't that what Nature Nerd Wednesdays are all about? Check out Tormanen's work on her website... I recommend scrolling through the NORTHERN LIGHTS - Winter gallery to escape to truly magical winter landscapes filled with color and light. I can only imagine what it would be like to stand in the midst of those quiet, snowy scenes and gaze upward at the undulating northern lights and stars twinkling in the clear night sky.

For a different take on the winter night scenes, do yourself a favor and look at the work of local artist Nikki Frumkin of Drawn to High Places. Her ink-and-watercolor paintings capture the breathtaking beauty of our Pacific Northwest mountains in all their snowy and starry glory. I'll take one of each, please!!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Nature Nerd Wednesdays

Welcome to Nature Nerd Wednesdays, your mid-week nature break to reconnect with the calming, refreshing, and inspiring effects of nature. Take a deep breath and enjoy...

Snowy sunrise: catching that first glimpse of white from my window, years ago. Lainey Piland photo

"Now, by 2 p.m., a regular snowstorm has commenced, fine flakes falling steadily, and rapidly whitening all the landscape. In half an hour the russet earth is painted white even to the horizon. Do we know of any other so silent and sudden a change?"
-Journal of Henry David Thoreau, November 28, 1858
There's snow in the forecast for western Washington this week! Although I dread driving in it, the thought of waking up to a snowy white landscape still gives me a little childish thrill. It recalls memories of waking up to snowfall on a winter morning and getting outside as quickly as possible, throwing snow pants and jacket on over my pajamas as I headed out to feed the horses their breakfast. Those first few steps outside always left me astonished at the depth of silence. The snow absorbs all sound - except, it seems - the sounds those icy flakes themselves make: scritching against your jacket, dropping from overloaded branches in great whuffs, groaning as it is compressed beneath your feet.

Sitting at my desk a few days ago, the air vent overhead suddenly went silent as the furnace shut off. I was shocked at how quiet it was in the office, amazed at all of the small sounds that had been drowned out by the noise of blowing air. Instantly I was reminded of standing in the midst of a snowy forest. The snowflakes scrub all white noise from the air, distilling the world to shades of black and white, muting all but the sound of falling flakes and the murmur of your thoughts.

If you're longing to experience the silence of snow, escape to the wintry forest in the film below created by Nature 3D Taeuber:

Who knows... if this week's snowy forecast holds, we may be able to simply step out our front doors and experience the same peace and quiet found in the film above. Be safe out there!